Larry Rice
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It was interesting to read this editorial (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/opinion/08krugman.html) and know the historical context of where he was going when he compared it to the Polish Sejm which I learned about playing God's Playground....regardless of whether one agrees with this columnist's opinion.

 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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It's a bit of hyperbole, of course -- I don't see a partition of the US coming any time soon.

As late as the Great Northern War (1700-1721), Poland could still function enough to field a sizable army, although it mostly fought against other Polish factions so this is perhaps not the best example.

But yes, if you had asked me if the word Sejm would appear in a Krugman piece any time soon, I would have bet against you.
 
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Larry Rice
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agreed.
 
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Brian Sielski
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It's not about the US being partitioned by Canada, Mexico, and China.

It's more about the paralysis that the government can find itself in, as he pointed out. So yes, this is quite the similar situation as Poland found itself in.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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The political reasons for paralysis are very different. The Polish nobility was reacting to the rise of authoritarian monarchies all around them. They used the liberum veto primarily to preserve their idea of liberty from the tyranny of their elected king. In the end the various factions of the Sejm relied on foreign powers, which led eventually to foreign dominance and partition.

The modern US legislative system is primarily paralyzed by its inability to get its nose out of the trough of public subsidy of private profit.
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Brian Sielski
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Quote:
They used the liberum veto primarily to preserve their idea of liberty from the tyranny of their elected king.



I disagree stongly with that statement ... and Norman Davies authoritative work on the history of Poland, also titled God's Playground, concurs.

The major powers (Russia, Prussia, and Austria) would only need to "buy" ONE noble to veto any legislation in the Sejm. A foreign interest was able to paralyze and manipulate to their outside interests. There was always one noble willing to sell out for gold and greed. Unless you are equating their "preserve their idea of liberty" to treachery and gold?

The NY Times writer makes a similar comparision of how one senator is paralyzing something as simple as a presdiential appointment, as one Noble was able to block as well.

It is a fair comparision in my opinion.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I would certainly not deny it was put to that use. However, "liberty" (as they defined it) was certainly in the forefront of their minds insofar as how they related to their own king.
 
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